Family members accuse cemetery of mismanagement - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Family members accuse cemetery of mismanagement

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Photo taken by the Lohden family of water in the gravesite. (Source: Lohden family) Photo taken by the Lohden family of water in the gravesite. (Source: Lohden family)
Family members using a pump to remove water from the gravesite. (Source: Lohden family) Family members using a pump to remove water from the gravesite. (Source: Lohden family)
Family members clearing the gravesite. (Source: Lohden family) Family members clearing the gravesite. (Source: Lohden family)
Alton Lohden Alton Lohden
Ethel Lohden Ethel Lohden

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A family buried their mother only to suffer more pain and heartache.

It's where the Lohdens find comfort after their parents passed. Before their mother was laid to rest, relatives noticed Joyce Lohden's gravesite filling up with water. On the day of the funeral, the Lohdens claim they had to jump in with buckets and remove water so the burial could take place.

"We jumped in the hole, took five gallon buckets and started handing my brothers and nephews five gallon buckets so we could remove the water," Alton Lohden said.

Alton and his siblings claim St. Stephens Cemetery personnel didn't take immediate action. Since then, they've accused St. Stephens Cemetery, located at 1808 S. Preston St., of mismanagement and not properly maintaining the grounds.

A property manager, who didn't want to be identified or appear on camera, denied the allegations and insisted WAVE 3 News contact Bruce Zimmerman, the board president. Zimmerman has not returned our request for comment.

The Lohdens said they also contacted Zimmerman through certified mail and phone conversations. Their only recourse would be to file a complaint with the Kentucky Attorney General's Office, according to the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association.

"The government agency in charge of cemeteries in the state would be a better, more approachable resource to try and get some help. In their case, it's the AG office," Robert Fells said, ICCFA spokesperson.

"I just feel she was disrespected. It made me feel awful. It's just been devastating for the whole family," Ethel Lohden said.

The Lohdens have also purchased additional plots in St. Stephens Cemetery and want a refund. They're not entitled to reimbursement because most cemeteries do not offer refunds since buyers are purchasing property. However, buyers are allowed to sell plots to someone else.

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